Why Do I Forget Things So Easily?
Forgetfulness is common at all ages and usually worsens for psychological, neurochemical, and physiological reasons.
You are tidying up your place, getting rid of all the clutter, when you suddenly remember you had to call your mom. You make your way to the living room to get your phone, and suddenly you forget why you came here. Sounds relatable, doesn’t it?
Forgetting minor details is an everyday life occurrence and happens to everyone. However, some people suffer more than others, and there are individuals whose forgetfulness impedes their daily routine.
If you notice that your forgetfulness has increased during a short time, you may wonder what factors aggravate it. This article aims to identify the factors that contribute to poor recollection with a few tips to boost your memory towards the end.
Reasons why people forget things easily
Many psychological, chemical, and physiological conditions contribute to forgetfulness, but stress, old age, and lack of focus are the most common reasons.
It is not a big deal to forget why you entered a room but forgetting where you are can be a sign of a mental ailment such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. If you are experiencing severe memory loss issues, we recommend getting a doctor’s opinion.
However, occasional forgetfulness can be subject to psychological, neurochemical, and physiological reasons. Here we are explaining each briefly:
1. Memory volatility
A theory related to forgetfulness states that when a memory is stored in the brain and is not recalled or retrieved for a long time, the chances are it will fade with time.
However, the validity of this theory is questionable since memories tend to make their way into our long-term memory even if they are not used for a long time.
Memory volatility is essential in making space for new and more valuable memories. Our brain sifts through the information and gets rid of the useless bits. So if you want to remember something, it is essential to revise it frequently.
2. Storage failure
We often forget things that we did not memorize appropriately in the first place. This is due to a lack of attention or absentmindedness.
You are less likely to remember a lecture you did not follow attentively. Maybe you were thinking about something else, were busy finding your notebook, or were at the end of your attention span.
Our brain fails to encode the information when we lose concentration. Better focus is the key to forming substantial memories.
3. Memory blocks
We often suffer from blocks when we remember what a word sounds like or which letter it starts with, but we cannot think of it exactly. These blocks become repetitive with age and are why elderlies often forget other people’s names.
Usually, the reason is another similar memory. We can think of all related details, but these extra memories hinder retrieving the correct one.
The Interference theory about forgetfulness states that you may be unable to recall an event due to an intervention by a similar memory that overpowers the original one.
The interfering memory could be an old one impeding the retrieval of a new one or vice versa.
Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter that plays a pivotal role in forming and forgetting memories. Scientists used a dragonfly to extract data that, when a brain learns something, a simultaneous “dopamine-triggered” forgetting pathway is created, leading to memory loss if not reused.
Our brain releases dopamine to forget unwanted memories that we didn’t use for a long time.
Stress is a known factor aggravating memory issues. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, releases from our bodies when feeling anxious.
Optimum cortisol may enhance our ability to remember things. That is why we can focus better and have a sharper memory while facing a moderately edgy condition. It is a valuable technique that several courses teach to boost one’s productivity.
However, excessive cortisol levels impair our brain functions and our ability to recall old memories. Hence, prolonged exposure to stress and anxiety messes with our brain systems.
2. Sleep deprivation
People with an irregular sleeping pattern or lack of quality sleep often show poor memory.
A few nights of inadequate sleep will leave you groggy and irritable, leading to poor focus and memory. In contrast, consistent insomnia causes serious mental issues, including memory loss.
Exceeding the recommended limits of alcohol consumption can have severe consequences on your brain health. It messes with your short and long-term memory and may even worsen as an enduring memory loss or dementia.
Women should avoid drinking more than one glass a day, and men should stick to two glasses of alcohol per day.
4. Old age
Forgetfulness increases with age. Older people tend to lack focus and forget recent memories often.
The reason is the weakening of the brain and its ability to form new neural pathways. Old pathways start to deteriorate, leading to impaired thinking and loss of recollection.
However, permanent memory loss and difficulty remembering basic things like the way to the washroom or one’s name can be dangerous and a symptom of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
What can I do to stop forgetting so easily?
Several techniques, lifestyle changes, and a few courses help build a stronger focus and retain memories better.
Casual memory slips are common and mostly normal too. However, they can be a nuisance. Iris Reading has a great course that helps to maximize your memory through various strategies.
Here are a few other tips and tricks to minimize forgetfulness and rebuild your memory:
1. Mental exercise
Mental maths, speed reading, brain-teasing games, logic-based quizzes, puzzles, and crosswords are excellent ways to sharpen your brain and hone your memory.
Such games trigger our brains and challenge our mental capacity, leading to the formation of enhanced neural pathways and better memory.
Light exercise, walks, or jogging keeps us fit physically and improves our brain health. Exercise improves blood circulation through the brain and releases certain chemicals that boost our memory.
If you cannot make time for exercising daily, go out for a jog between work breaks or hit the treadmill twice or thrice a week. Here are a few exercises that help clear your mind and focus better:
- Brisk walking
- Strength training
- Light stretching
As we discussed above, inadequate sleep is a culprit in impairing our memory. Hence, it is crucial to work on your sleeping schedule and seek help if insomnia persists.
Here are a few ways you can redesign your bedroom to sleep better:
- Declutter your room. Mess and hoarding trap negative energies in the room that could disrupt your sleep.
- Paint the room in light, tranquil colors such as subtle shades of green, blue, gray, white, beige, or lilac.
- Look for a comfortable mattress for your bed.
- Place some indoor plants. Snake plants, basil, areca palm, lavender, and peppermint are especially good at relieving stress and anxiety.
- Use a scent diffuser with essential oils that promote sleep. A few examples are lavender, chamomile, jasmine, rose, geranium, and sage.
- Hang a meaningful painting above your headboard with serene colors, ideally a nature scene.
4. Avoid stress
Continuous stress and anxiety can impair your brain and cognitive abilities and lead to low focus and forgetfulness. You can learn how to cope with stress by:
- Letting go of the things that are beyond your control
- Not worrying too much
- Learning to say no
- Minimizing your burden
- Expressing your feelings
- Seeking medical help if symptoms persist
5. Eat healthy
A healthy and balanced diet that includes all essential nutrients will keep your body fit and brain functioning.
Add fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy, fish, meats, and eggs to your meals, and avoid refined edibles and too much sugar.
Green tea has antioxidants that decrease inflammation throughout our bodies and ease our minds. Drink a few cups every day.
6. Take notes
While you are working on strengthening your memory, jotting down important details will help you remember. Writing helps in memorizing, but you can also refer to your notes when you forget something.
Keep a notebook and a pen in your pocket and write anything you don’t want to forget. Also, make a to-do list to accomplish your goals for the day. Write down the grocery you need and the places where you keep your commodities.
7. Remember and revise
Our memories are like our muscles. We lose them if we don’t use them. Recall and revise the essential details you don’t want to forget, be it a science lesson or your spouse’s phone number. Recalling out loud also helps as we retain voices better than thoughts.
Everyone experiences bouts of forgetfulness during their lives. These are normal and cause minor inconveniences. You will notice an increase in their frequency with age, stress, sleep deprivation, neurochemical changes, and psychological factors.
However, you can minimize such spells by increasing the quality of your lifestyle. This includes better sleep, a healthy diet, mental and physical exercise, writing, and rehearsing important information.
You can do all that AND more by taking up Iris Reading’s memory-boosting course to go the extra mile!